Christmas shopping and disability — Scope | Disability forum
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Christmas shopping and disability

Sam_Alumni
Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,673 Disability Gamechanger

For many people, the thought of heading out on Black Friday to fight the masses and the sights of crowds of people willing to push over another human being in order to obtain a cut price 90” smart TV is not an attractive one. 

For others, it is a chance to save money and get Christmas shopping done on a budget.  In these times of austerity when purses are being squeezed tighter than ever, the ability to purchase necessary and luxury items on the cheap is a huge advantage.

It is all personal choice, but what about when that choice is taken away from you because of disability?

Black Friday, along with much of the Christmas shopping rush can be so inaccessible for anyone but non-disabled people. A person with medical conditions, either physical or mental may not be able to queue for hours waiting for shops to open, they may not be able to compete with the pushing and shoving of fellow festive consumers, they may not even be able to gain access to the shop at all, let alone navigate the tight, cramped aisles between crowded shelves.

A government disability audit in 2014 found:

  • Less than a third of department stores have accessible changing rooms.
  • Two thirds of retail staff have no training in how to help disabled customers
  • A third of department stores do not have an accessible toilet.
  • 20% of high street shops have no ramps for wheelchairs
  • Only 15% of retailers have hearing loops for shoppers with hearing impairments.

Shopping for Christmas can be a huge reminder of how many barriers are in place for disabled people.  If you have an illness or disability, it can be hard to have the strength to simply cover the miles of shopping centre walkways.


So what can we do about it?

Shop online

From groceries to gifts, search for deals online and find the best free or cheap delivery deals. 

Be prepared

Plan ahead and shop in advance, look for the deals that come up throughout the year and take advantage of them. This also helps with budgeting and means you can shop at quieter times.

Know your rights

The Equality Act 2010 calls that shops must take positive steps to remove the barriers you face because of your disability. This is to ensure you receive the same services, as far as this is possible, as someone who's not disabled.

What do you think?  Do you have any tips for dealing with Christmas shopping? Get involved in the discussion now.

Scope
Senior online community officer
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Comments

  • VioletFenn
    VioletFenn Member Posts: 124 Pioneering
    As an autistic adult, I have to say that the idea of fighting the crowds to do my Christmas shopping is really unnerving. I manage by doing the bulk of it online and any shopping I absolutely have to do in person is done on weekdays in the early morning so it's not too busy. I write a list of exactly what I need from where, and work out a route. Planning is the key! I've long ago given up on things like Black Friday deals, because the speed at which they have to be 'caught' tends to wrong-foot me, but I try to keep an eye out for 'normal' deals from about September onwards with an eye to Christmas presents. I have to say that mail order is an absolute lifesaver.
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 210 Pioneering
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,673 Disability Gamechanger
    Absolutely! Disabilities just don't seem to be taken into consideration.

    Also welcome to the community @VioletFenn - thanks for joining the conversation!

    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 210 Pioneering
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,673 Disability Gamechanger
    @mumof3boys I noticed that our local cinema is offering Autism Friendly Screenings and thought it was a brilliant idea! I am a film lover and if it can be made accessible for all, then it has to be a great thing.  Have you been to any showings? How was it?
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 210 Pioneering
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,673 Disability Gamechanger
    Ahh ok, still a great idea though and like you say, if cinemas can do it, it would be good for shops to follow suit.

    I know Asda and Toys r us have held austism friendly sessions but I dont think they are a regular thing.
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • VioletFenn
    VioletFenn Member Posts: 124 Pioneering
    Sam_Scope said:
    Absolutely! Disabilities just don't seem to be taken into consideration.

    Also welcome to the community @VioletFenn - thanks for joining the conversation!

    Thank you! I've just jumped in without thinking (typical) - I shall go do an introductory post as soon as I figure out where it's supposed to be...  ;)
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,673 Disability Gamechanger
    There is a welcome category here @VioletFenn but feel free to jump in wherever you like! 
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 210 Pioneering
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,673 Disability Gamechanger
    Absolutely! I hope everyone feels they can comment and share on here :smile:
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 210 Pioneering
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  • bam
    bam Member Posts: 326 Pioneering
    You know I do the same thing and when I tell somebody I do that they look at me oddly. They just don't seem to understand. I tried to go over early in the morning and I try to plan everything out.
  • 3_SAMagnify1
    3_SAMagnify1 Member Posts: 17 Connected
    Black Friday is rather irrelevant to me  as I'm not out on Fridays because  generally  my schedule is planned to avoid  that day. Also  I don't have credit cards and  as I'm a single female  I don't like  having tradesmen in my flat when I  a carer with me. my way around this is to get what I need  before Christmas and or order online via  one of my carers which  the manager who used to come out to me. The cost is then added to my bill. I hasten to add that I do not work and I don't send
     I do send cards but as cards  fit into the bag on my walking frame they  can be purchased  after church on Sunday which is generally speaking the other day I am out. My grocery shop is  generally done on separate with another day  when I go to town it's  just about leisure and or/ appointments usually Wednesday for the for former and Thursday for the latter.
  • Chris_Alumni
    Chris_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 689 Pioneering
    Hi all, we're putting together some Christmas tips over here at the moment - if you've got any tips to share about anything, from shopping with mobility issues to ensuring that Christmas day is special for children with autism, please do post a comment on our tips thread.
  • letay57
    letay57 Member Posts: 3 Listener
    The lighting in shopping centre's severly affects me. I have Blepharospasm/Dystonia and going from one type of light to another makes my eye spasms worse to the point where they are closed, clamped shut which means I am then functionally blind. I use a white cane but shopping isn't easy even though I can see a bit. I avoid shops as much as possible these days. Anyone else have this problem? I usually end up knocking things off shelves or bumping into clothes rails etc.Escalators are a nightmare when your eyes are closed so rarely go upstairs in shops.No assistants around to help especially this time of year.
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 210 Pioneering
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  • letay57
    letay57 Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Yes. The darkness suits me better these days. The tv screen irritates my eyes as well so can't watch tv and I have tinted lenses in my reading glasses. Are you sensitive to light too?
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 210 Pioneering
    edited December 2016
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • 3_SAMagnify1
    3_SAMagnify1 Member Posts: 17 Connected
    I have sight impairment but my difficulty is with from changing light conditions, so  sun light to shadow etc depth Kerbs/Steps and in some situations changing ground surface. When I'm not with a carer (generally Sundays after Church I don't go to shops that don't have lifts or are one one level.

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